Watch the Lighting of the National #Christmas Tree

Since 1923, hundreds of locals and visitors have gathered to watch as the President of the United States flips the switch and lights the elaborately decorated national Christmas Tree. Now, this annual tradition has transformed into an even bigger and better celebration, incorporating 56 smaller, decorated trees representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories along the "Pathway of Peace."

Beginning Friday, December 6, this annual three-week tradition will kick off the holiday festivities and Christmastime in DC. More than 15,000 spectators can come and enjoy music as nationally known entertainers take the stage. Previous performers have included Colbie Caillat, James Taylor, and Jason Mraz among others as well as the United States military band-not to mention celebrities such as Neil Patrick Harris, Carson Daly, and Rico Rodriguez.

Expect nightly performances from volunteer choirs, bands, and dancers from December 11 through December 22 from 5-8:30pm during the week and 1-8:30 pm on the weekends. There's even a Santa's Workshop for kids, filled with toys for good little boys and girls. Plus, you can't forget the highlight of the spectacle: the lighting of the national tree at 4:30pm on December 6; it's bound to be this season's best yet.

You can even enjoy seasonal displays such as a Yule log, large-scale model train, and a Christmas manger. And while tickets are required for the Christmas tree lighting, locals and visitors can enjoy the elaborate display ticket-free until New Year's Day. It's the perfect place to kick off your holidays DC-style.

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